Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has said it’s nice to be on top of the table on Christmas Day, but insists his focus is solely on the next game.
The Reds travel to the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day to take on title favourites Manchester City, who sit a point behind Rodgers’ men in third place. Rodgers said the squad is a little on the thin side but said the game presents an opportunity for his players.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip down the East Lancs Road, Rodgers said there is much work to do this season despite their position at Christmas.
‘These games are opportunities for us, we’re not going to cry about. We have what we have.
‘I think from January last year we’ve shown that we can now consistently perform and we can win games on a regular basis.
‘We’ve got the most goals this calendar year out of any Barclays Premier League team and I think the consequence of all the great work that the players have put in on the training field, they’re getting their rewards for it but you don’t get the rewards at Christmas.
‘Of course, we want to be there, but we want to be there at the end of the season and for that there’s a lot of hard work ahead.
‘We know where we want to be and we’re working towards that.’
The Liverpool boss said they will learn more about the squad in the next couple of games, with a weekend trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea quickly following this weekend, but says the side will take the same approach at City – a side that has a 100% home record in the league this season.
‘We know it’s a tough place to go this year Manchester City.
‘They obviously have confidence at home. They score goals but we can score goals so it makes for a really good game.
‘You normally lose it [100% home record] at some stage over the season. It will depend on the team that can go there and have the bravery to play and get that wee bit of luck when you need it.’
Jon Flanagan is a slight doubt for the trip to the Etihad after being substituted early on in the second half of the 3-1 win over Cardiff City with a tight hamstring.
‘He was fit enough to start and play, he felt it a little bit in the game so we had to take him off so we just need to assess that over the next 24 hours.
In terms of more long-term injuries Steven Gerrard may be back a little bit sooner as he’s working on the training ground whilst Jose Enrique and Daniel Sturridge’s timescale remaining the same. Rodgers said the striker is progressing well but will be back in January.
Can Liverpool end City's 100% record?
image: © Bernard C